Lito Banayo’s Manila Standard piece today “The Vice President” is basically a stocktake of the circus that has come to town. The one confronting thing he points out is the elephant in the Opposition room — that speculation around whether or not Vice President Leni Robredo will seek the presidency in 2022 drags on. “No one has come around volunteering to be her team-mate, at least not publicly,” Banayo laments.
The other interesting pseudo-fact is Banayo’s claim that boxer-turned-senator Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao has met with Senator Ping Lacson about a possible team-up which has Pacquiao as the VP…
On the “independent” side of the political aisle, what used to be “cast in stone”, the partnership between Senator Ping Lacson for president and Senate President Tito Sotto as his vice-presidential team-mate seems to have foundered on the shoals of uncertainty. Of late, the Pacman team has reached out to the senate president, and supposedly with the presence of Senator Ping, toyed with the idea of running as the determined Pacman’s vice-president.
Sources also confirm that the camps of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Lacson met but couldn’t come to an agreement because both wanted to be President. Lacson has the experience and seniority while Isko has the numbers this early in the game. Pac-Man provides Ping with the masa support if ever.
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Lacson’s stern image plus his metrosexual looks doesn’t register well with the masa. His biggest problem is translating his Senatorial votes into Presidential votes. In his 2004 run, Lacson only managed to get 10% of the vote. Last Friday’s shocker was the photo released of the Marcos and Romualdez tête-à-tête with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). This came on the heels of a Presidential statement that he has promised the VP post to Leyte Congressman Martin Romualdez. Whether that is related to his deferring to the President in regard to the Speakership tussle last year wasn’t mentioned.
The week before that it was Inday Sara “Daughterte” who was in Manila for unspecified reasons. But she had merienda cena with Senadora Imee Marcos at her residence further fuelling speculation about her running and which running mate she would choose. This left the Opposition’s collective head spinning like a trumpo. The confirmation that they are in total disarray has given the upper hand to the administration.
From the latest developments, we might have a three-way race between the administration, a possible Lacson-Pacman ticket, Isko-TBA (runningmate) to be announced and probably the Opposition with a Robredo-Trillanes combine. But one source who was Isko’s classmate at the Manila City Council said last Tuesday, “si Isko nagtatapos yan ng term”. But when it was suggested that he was being egged on by his Chief of Staff and close adviser Letlet Zarcal, the source said “nakikinig din yan sa ganyan pag kinargahan”.
And so the political rigodon continues. Banayo could be floating red herrings about Lacson-Pacman because he is supposed to be Isko’s designated campaign manager. But until such time there is a formal announcement from each of the personalities involved, nothing is cast in stone. The oligarchs are definitely moving their chess pieces in the political game of thrones. One has to look at the pawns and how they’re moving in relation to the business interests of each oligarch. In the meantime, the opposition’s heads spin and they continue to run around like a headless chicken. That’s entertainment.
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